Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Definition of BEHOLD

transitive verb
: to perceive through sight or apprehension : see
: to gaze upon : observe
intransitive verb
—used in the imperative especially to call attention
be·hold·er noun

Examples of BEHOLD

  1. Those who have beheld the beauty of the desert never forget it.
  2. beholds the immense complexity of life on earth>
How do I dance, how can I dance, how can I begin to begin again. When you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, and that your world, as you have known it has been forever changed? I did not know how to give myself permission to go to dance on Sunday. To have fun? How is that even a possibility?  I went.................It was incredible as I "danced my life" as it was in that moment, in that body, in the now. When we gathered before the dance, Winky presented us with the contemplation of the word "BEHOLD". Wow, how powerful that word resonated for me. She spoke about it in terms of being not a witness who is separate from the other dancers, but being a part of the whole as you notice the others with awareness. A part of, rather than a part from. As I danced my life, the pain, the anger, the fear I was feeling, and emotions that I could not and cannot yet name, I felt filled with a power that I had never experienced.  The emotions raged through every inch of my body as I danced, as though I were a whirling dervish. Dervish is said to literally mean "one who opens the doors". It was so cathartic and I felt alive.  As I danced my emotions, and my emotions danced me, the word BEHOLD kept resonating and transforming. I thought about how if I could just "BE" whether it be present, strong, available, open to receive, listen, help, care for, exist for the sake of existing for oneself or another; that there is a true purpose in this word, this work, "TO BE". By taking better care of myself, the quality of my available to the the others in my life is stronger and richer. By being able to "BE" I felt that I could better "HOLD" my loved ones in times of trouble and in times of joy. To truly be able to be present to whatever comes up in our lives. Last night I returned to dance, although again with a feeling of guilt and my Mary Oliver phrase was "know what matters". Yes! I danced that phrase and held it deep within my being, and contemplate on that now as well. 
I am now trying to reconcile my feelings about this shift in our world, and trying to come to terms with accepting that things are not always the way we wanted them to be, the way we planned and expected them to be. Life unfolds the way it unfolds, and we have to learn to dance that life. So how do I begin to do this? We put one foot in front of the other, we do life as we always have, even though things might now be different. I have to give myself and my loves permission to dance, to cry, to be angry, to be fearful and to laugh. Yes to laugh. So we went to see "The Big Lebowski" on the big screen at the old Clinton Theater and we laughed. We laughed hard. I laughed every time Lebowski said that "the rug tied the room together". And the movie went on even when they pulled the rug out from under him......................

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Living The Princess and The Pea

I just finished a mixed media sculptural piece entitled "Living The Princess and The Pea" . It is the culmination of a year of collecting the labels that were sewn into the necklines of clothing when I purchased them or had collected over time. It is always necessary for me to remove the labels before I am able to comfortably wear the clothing because of a hypersensitivity condition that I named The Princess and The Pea Syndrome. Upon further research, I found that I was not alone. The sculpture consists of a "quilt" of sorts, of all the labels I attached by sewing them to two dressmaker's patterns. Once sewn, I then proceeded to dip the two parts of the "blouse" into beeswax and then form them into torso like shapes. They cannot stand alone and need each other for support. Inside the vessel, the void, that the two wax dress quilt pieces create, is a spool of long nails, pointed side up, and resting upon them is one small white down feather. I feel this piece narrates my feeling of having lived with this condition my entire life. There was something very satisfying about completing the long awaited sculpture. Although it soothes my spirit, it unfortunately doesn't assuage my condition. You can read more about what others have written about their experience living The Princess and The Pea below. The images are of the completed sculpture "Living The Princess and The Pea" including a detail image.
I am quoting other women, including myself who suffer with this sometimes debilitating condition. "I  make an effort to make other parts of my life as comfortable as possible, with appropriate clothing, and shoes. When I stand for too long, I have low back pain. In short, I try to do everything I can to enhance my creature comforts in my life, by removing those things which are bothersome. I also have problems with clothing. I don’t think I have a single shirt left that has the manufacturer’s tag still in it. The ones with the pretty metallic designs are especially annoying. I also cut them out of pants, underwear and bras. Thankfully, I don’t own much that does not have easy washing directions. Being around perfume and loud noises are additional irritants to my heightened system. Being around too many people for too long is a drain on my system and usually cause headaches. At the end of the day, I can't wait to remove my underwear and clothing and then am only able to wear a baggy sweatsuit with the shirt tucked smoothly into the pants to keep the elastic off my waist. I was often mocked by my mother for being "too sensitive" and being a pain in the neck to shop with, especially for underwear. If I have a headache earrings have to be very light, and not bounce, or they get left at home. Sometimes even my hair down on my neck is irritating to my skin. Any of this sound familiar? I would imagine it does. We are creatures with hypersensitive nerve endings. Our nervous systems react to many things others are not even aware of. All of this extra irritability adds up to less sleep, and more pain and fatigue. So, how do we deal with the “pea”? I imagine some of the things we need to do are similar, while others will be very individualThe immune system is an integral part of human protection against disease, but the normally protective immune mechanisms can sometimes cause detrimental reactions in the host. Such reactions are known as hypersensitivity reactions, and the study of these is termed immunopathology. Hypersensitivity is a state of altered reactivity in which the body reacts with an exaggerated immune response to a foreign substance
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by central sensitization resulting in hypersensitivity of the skin and deeper tissues as well as fatigue. Possibly the princess in Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Princess and the Pea' suffered from FMS"

As the story goes, making an effort to find a real princess to marry her son, the Prince, the Queen placed a pea on the bed, and covered it with 20 mattresses and 20 feather beds. When the young lady awoke the next morning, she said she had hardly slept at all because of a bump in the bed. The queen said "nobody but a real princess would have such delicate skin."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rich Sunday

After feeling under the weather all week, I knew what I needed most, but almost couldn't muster the strength. To go and do what I knew deep within, would lift me to the level that I desperately needed. To allow myself to pull myself out of my funk. I arrived at dance a few minutes early, and had a chance to settle in, to be witness to the other beautiful bodies of the early dance session, moving in and through the space, fully present to their bodies, that moment in time and space. The room began to clear and open for those of us who would dance the second session. I was reminded by J'aime, before I went in, that movement is tied to our lymphatic system and our bodies need to move to heal. I knew I was right in pushing myself to show up. We joined in our opening circle and Winky shared some wonderful visual words that touched me deeply and I began to melt further into myself. She told a bit about the documentary on Annie Leibovitz as she was talking with Mikail Baryshnikov about photographing dance.  Leibovitz had come to the conclusion that it was impossible to photograph dance, because "dance is art in air". Wow, need I say more???????
In the evening I had the wonderful opportunity to go to my friend Danelle's house for a meditation sit. I have been wanting to jump start my practice for quite a while now and have felt paralyzed. This was a wonderful opportunity to make room for the quiet, the space between; whether it is space between the words, the thoughts, the breaths or the movements I danced earlier.
I feel so grateful for my community of seekers on the same path.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best Donate a Dinner Ever!

Thanks to you, we will be able to feed more seniors than ever this winter.  We introduced hundreds of people to Loaves  and  Fishes Centers, and  raise more than $200,000!
If you didn't get a chance, it's not too late to donate a meal. Thank you for helping us reach our goal.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Incredible M.O.M. follow up!

What an incredible experience and amazing privilege it was to participate the first West Coast Mission of Mercy event at the Convention Center. We as professional Dentists, support staff and volunteers from the community helped to provided 7,844 procedures valuing $829,119 to 1,554 patients in the two days. The Oregon Dental Association worked tirelessly to organize this event that would effect so many lives, more than could have been imagined. It was an experience that I have been having trouble putting words to, but one week later I have to try to express some of what this entire experience meant to me. 
As I rolled out of bed at 4:30 am I complained that I was "cold" because the heat had yet to kick on, since we normally don't rise that early. I was "tired". It was too early to eat, but I was "hungry". As we drove up to the Convention Center at 5 am I was stunned to see people already lined up around the large complex. Some, we were told, had been there since the night before in sub-freezing, raining conditions, and most arriving at 4 am with the hopes of having their dental pain and problems relieved. There was no guarantee that they would all be seen that day, but hopes were high. At that moment I realized a new meaning to the words "cold" ,"tired" and "hungry". 

 As I sat at the table welcoming in the prospective patients, and giving them their name tags, I was overwhelmed with emotion and totally humbled by the experience. Each and every cold, wet, tired person that stepped into the building,sighed with relief, knowing they had finally made it into the warmth of the convention center. They knew that they would be treated that day, was grateful, gracious and cheerful. They blessed us and praised us  for the time we were giving them to provide the much needed dental work. Some of the patients had lost healthcare and jobs due to the tough economic status of our state. Some where living out on the street. Some were struggling with drugs and alcohol. Many had small children and babies in their arms, having been waiting for hours in the cold. 

What a reality check for my own life and comforts! I do try to live each day honoring my blessings and feeling grateful for my truly wonderful and full life, but this day took me to a new level of appreciation and gratefulness. I know that even with my intent to live a grateful authentic life, things do slip by me in the day to day rushing, that I might not notice and be fully grateful for. What a gift and lesson I learned from the people who came into the Convention Center. There were thousands of people in line and we were only able to let under one thousand in the first day 12 hour day. Some people that were not able to be seen on Monday, remained on to wait in line, sleeping out, with the hopes of being seen on Tuesday, even though the temperatures were falling to record lows with freezing rain and snow. 

Some of the media chose to focus on the fact that not everyone in line was treated, or that standing out in the cold is akin to the pain of dentistry. I tried to see beyond that ignorant attitude and did go as far as to write a letter to the editor of the Oregonian, addressing that form of "journalism". Most of the coverage of the event was very positive.

I know we can all learn something from the attitudes of the clients that showed up for MOM. In the afternoon, I escorted patients to continue with their treatment or those who were already done for the day. Some patients where happy to have teeth extracted to relieve their pain, some had their long neglected teeth filled and others left happily with new teeth where no teeth had remained and left with smiles on their faces for the first time. They wrote comments on cards that were posted in the break room throughout the day. One women wrote, that she had been a victim of domestic violence and as a result had her teeth knocked out, and that now she could finally smile with her new teeth. The day was filled with tears of joy and sorrow for many of us. Everyone was treated with respect and everyone left with a feeling of pride. Some people now being able to eat with a comfort that they had never known.

I was filled with pride for my husband Michael and his trusty assistant Alvina providing 12 hours of dental care with barely a break, who are seen in this great picture taken during the day~~
I was also so proud to have been a part of such an amazingly important event. Next year we will work both 5am-6pm days. We went home this time after working just the Monday double shift, feeling incredibly exhausted but pumped with so much adrenaline, so many personal stories to share with each other as we had a wonderful, grateful, warm dinner together. The food tasted so much richer to us because our day's experience. We were filled with such a sense of satisfaction, accomplishment and gratefulness, and such an array of emotions that I am still trying to process.I don't know of anyone on either the giving or receiving end of this event, that was not deeply effected. I for one, have been touched and changed forever having had the honor of working at M.O.M. What a Thanksgiving gift I have been able to receive through M.O.M.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Donate Dinner- Help feed seniors this Thanksgiving! It's not too late

Got two hours?Greet customers and hand out Donate Dinner cards... it's as easy as that!
YOUR participation will raise crucial funds to feed the increasing number of local seniors in need of a hot nutritional meal.
The 5 days before Thanksgiving, Nov. 20 - 24, 2010.
At 28 local grocery stores. We still need volunteers at all of our locations, however the stores listed below have the greatest need. Please click on a store if you would like to volunteer.
To view a list of all participating stores, click here.
For more information, visit the Donate Dinner website at

~~~and not for the sake of winning but for sheer delight and gratitude....

Last nights dance was incredibly and especially rich for me. We began with our blindly chosen line from Mary Oliver's poem "Invitation" for inspiration. I just loved the line that chose me

........."and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude"

The line conjured in my mind the idea that I don't have to always have the answers and explanations for everything. I don't have to always struggle to "figure it out". That sometimes there are no explanations. Things just are what they are. The beauty is in the process of life, just because........... It also made me think of my recent submission to the Portland Building for the installation "Waiting". I am making it for the sake of sheer delight and gratitude. That is enough. Whether it is chosen and seen by the public would be an added honor but I am satisfied with the process of creating it for the sake of itself. I am grateful................

Invitation~~ Mary Oliver

"Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—

believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life."

We ended dancing to the incredible song by Tina Turner called "Beyond". I had never heard it before. Its words are so amazing. It is part chant, part spiritual, part Buddhist prayer, and the words deeply touched my soul. If you have a chance to listen to this 7 minute jewel of a recording, you will be enriched beyond words. She fills you with a spiritual energy that is palpable. I can't find the lyrics written anywhere, but maybe this is for the best. It has to be listened to in order to fully experience the power and beauty of her most recent collaboration. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This morning was another delightful time at Cesar Chavez Elementary School reading with second graders, as part of S.M.A.R.T., or Start Making A Reader Today. Willante was out today but I had fun reading  with Alex for the first time, and reading with my regular student Soloria. These kids are so enthusiastic about reading, especially on the book give-away days, when they get to increase their personal home library, courtesy of Scholastic Books. It excites me and gives me hope for our future readers and the power of knowledge made fun! I am so happy to be a part of this great program!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Returning Home, Settling into the Autumn, My Rich Life Overflowing with Abundance!

It seems like such an eternity since last I wrote. Being away from home traveling, as wonderful as a trip can be,makes for it hard for me to not be home; in my home in Portland and settled into my home in my body. I am settling in now to the growing darkness and rain, the comforting yin feeling of Autumn, my favorite season. 
I have been savoring the past weeks dance, with my dance family, to Mary Oliver's Wild Geese again, a perfect poem for the season. It resonates so deeply for me in the depths of my soul.
"You do not have to be good. 
You do not have to walk on your knees 
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. 
You only have to let the soft animal of your body 
love what it loves. 
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. 
Meanwhile the world goes on. 
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes, 
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 
the world offers itself to your imagination
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place 
in the family of things."

I have also been frantically working to meet some deadlines. I am so proud that I got my proposal submitted to RACC for the Portland Building Installation space for 2011 on time. I have the hopes of installing my ongoing piece "Waiting". I continue to work on it and the idea continues to evolve for me as I grow to understand it even more. To date, I have 79 chairs and will be making 29 more to reach my intended goal of 108 chairs. I will also create other pieces to be a part of this site specific, interactive space. I remain hopeful, yet I am determined to not let the acceptance of this piece by the committee, be the determining factor of its inherent worth. I am, afterall, creating it for me. Having the privilege of sharing it with others would be an added benefit and bring in other peoples experiences and energy. Now I continue to wait.................

In addition, I finished the 6 x 6 piece that I have donated for the auction to benefit the Audubon Society's Wild Art's Festival 2010 that will be held the weekend of Nov 20.

Yesterday was a wonderful art play date with my fellow creative spirit Eddy. We scavanged some of Portland's haunts and then made it over to The Community Warehouse, where we chose our pieces that we will transform for this year's Chair Affair.(Did I actually bring home THREE chairs this time??!) I cannot believe another year has past and that it is that time again. (Before, during and after pictures will be posted in the upcoming months). I am excited about the event again, and plan to be a part of the planning of it as well. 
Next weekend I will volunteer with Michael at M.O.M., Missions of Mercy.
I will help with the Oregon State Dental Society to provide $1 million worth of free dental care to 1,500 to 2,000 people in just two days! 

The following weekend I will once again work with Loaves and Fishes The Meals on Wheels people, Donate a Dinner , to try to raise money to provide meals to home bound seniors during the holidays.

Now begins the wonderful planning stages leading up to my favorite time of the year,Thanksgiving. I have so much to be grateful for as always. I am expecially grateful that this year I will be able to chop and cook in the kitchen along side my favorite culinary student and master chef in the Grishman kitchen, Jenni,  since my wrist surgery in February was successful and I have my life back!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!

Aloha from Kauai, paradise, the most beautiful spiritual place I can imagine and how overjoyed and blessed I am to be spending my birthday here and have a rainbow come out to help me celebrate! Life is good!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 be understood, to be more than pure light..................

There was only one night to dance between travels 
 although feeling exhausted
the dance called to me
 I write now, even more exhausted
yet the dance last night was rich 
To dance my emotions 
 the best way to move through my life.
Learning how to be present to something 
to someone that hurts.
To be able to stop questioning why
someone would want to hurt you
Love should not hurt. 
Learning to lean into
 when being pushed away.
To let pain pass through 
without it taking up residence in your being
To allow the hurt and the memories to melt away 
 To not let them be absorbed into your soul.
Letting go of expectations, needs, longings. 
To remain pure.
To be understood.
To be more than pure light.
......Scars remind us where we have been,
they don't have to dictate where we are going.......

"The spirit
  likes to dress up like this:
    ten fingers, 
      ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
  at night
    in the black branches,
      in the morning

in the blue branches
  of the world.
    It could float, of course,
      but would rather

plumb rough matter.
  Airy and shapeless thing,
    it needs 
      the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
  the oceanic fluids;
    it needs the body's world,

and imagination
  and the dark hug of time,
      and tangibility,

to be understood,
  to be more than pure light
    that burns
      where no one is --

so it enters us --
  in the morning
    shines from brute comfort
      like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
  lights up the deep and wondrous
    drownings of the body
      like a star."
by Mary Oliver, from Dream Work

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Art In The Pearl 2010

Thankfully, the weather predictors were once again wrong and instead of the forecasted rain for the Labor Day weekend, it was incredibly beautiful, cool sunny and a perfect day to browse and see art in the Park Blocks! The crowds were large and there was a great energy to the weekend. I was delighted to be able to show one pedestal sculpture as well as 3 wall hanging pieces at the Pacific NW Sculptors booth. I also met lots of wonderfully talented fellow members as well as many very enthusiastic browsers at our booth. The pedestal sculpture entitled "Finding Balance In My World" was especially well received. I am aiming to try to make it to some meetings this year and get to know some of the other artist in our group. It is such a talented and diverse group of artists and I look forward to getting more involved in the future.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." - Trina Paulus

I am very excited to be able to say that I have hit the 70 CHAIR MARK!!! It seems like only yesterday that I embarked upon this installation project with the goal of creating 105 chairs in the "Waiting" series, and I am seeing the end in sight! I am still very much engaged in the piece, although I thought I would bore of it quickly. Although the number 105 has come up frequently in my life, I am seriously considering making 108 chairs.

Religion and the arts

The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and connected yoga and dharma based practices. For example, Hindu deities have 108 names. Recital of these names, often accompanied by counting of 108-beaded Mala, is considered sacred and often done during religious ceremonies. The recital is called namajapa. Accordingly, a mala usually has beads for 108 repetitions of a mantra. Likewise, Zen priests wear juzu (a ring of prayer beads) around their wrists, which consists of 108 beads.[1]

Japa Mala, or Japa beads, made from Tulasi wood. Consisting of 108 beads in total + the head bead.
The Lankavatara Sutra repeatedly refers to the 108 steps many temples have.[2]
However, in Tibetan Buddhism it is believed that there are 108 sins. And in Japan, at the end of the year, a bell is chimed 108 times to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana.
According to Marma Adi and Ayurveda, there are 108 pressure points in the body, where consciousness and flesh intersect to give life to the living being.
The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon
The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the SunThe diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth

I am thrilled that I have been staying committed and driven to create at least 2 chairs daily. It is a wonderful discipline, a true meditation.  I do find my self having to fight the worry about what I will do once the piece is finished. The challenge for me is to stay in the moment while creating each chair. They each seem to embody a different personality and each tells me a story. I have also created different "chapters" of chairs, with their chapter names, that are I am inscribing into the backs of each chair. This is a process that was not planned or intended, but just evolved. I am also actively collecting things that call out to me to sit upon each chair, as well as exploring the ways that I will incorporate text that I have collected through my dance, onto certain chairs. I look forward to the firing that will come sooner than I anticipated, although I will be away from the piece before I complete it when I go to Florida. I am sure I will collect many things, be they found objects, emotions and/or stories, that I will bring home and use to complete the final chapter of "Waiting".......

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Humpbacks- by Mary Oliver

Last night's dance was as delicious as always, always different. I suppose partly because when I show up, I too am different each time. I had a headache before going and was hesitant about whether I should just sit the night out and stay home. I am so glad that I chose to go. I arrived early, having beat the traffic, and got to be the one to select the line that we would all share the dance with. I blindly picked the hidden line "longing to fly while the dead-weight bones." I just loved the line. How could I not. It spoke to me deeply as it always does, maybe even more deeply than usual. Feeling weighted down with life as it happens, worrying about my mom and her health and feeling like I want to have the power to "fix it" to make things different from what they are, yet knowing that this is not possible, nor is it within my power. The weight of family worry, health worry, is so heavy that it is palpable inside and outside my body. I long to let go of the many emotional restraints that feel like dead weights on my limbs. To let go, surrender to what is and to be able to release and fly regardless of what is happening in life. The longing to be able to change what is, and the wisdom to know the difference between what I have the power to change and what I have to learn to accept. It seems as though the lines go deeper and deeper into my soul, and seem increasingly relevant to me. I am always surprised... yet not really. I have come to know and love the poetry and the dance, and how they dance with each other, and then how they invite me into their dance. I felt very rooted and strong and heavy in the dance, yet for some reason, the heaviness did not feel paralyzing like I thought it would.  The music and the words began to increase in their pace and depth, moving me, lifting me, into an ever growing powerful dance with a certain growing lightness. The lightness was a powerful lightness. I felt less like I was fighting the movement and more like I was being lifted by it. I felt full, rich. I left with a decidedly lighter, more empowered, unencumbered feeling. How healing the dance is to me. 
I both feel as if I have been dancing my entire life, yet wonder how I ever survived before I began Ecstatic Dance less than four years ago? It heals me and helps me in ways that words can't begin to describe. Sometimes you can know it, identify it, sometimes you can feel it, and sometimes you have to just dance the unknowing of it. Oh how I love to dance!!

"There is, all around us,
this country
of original fire.
You know what I mean.
The sky, after all, stops at nothing so something
has to be holding
our bodies
in its rich and timeless stables or else
we would fly away.
Off Stellwagan
off the Cape,
the humbacks rise. Carrying their tonnage
of barnacles and joy
they leap through the water, they nuzzle back under it
like children
at play.
They sing, too.
And not for any reason
you can’t imagine.
Three of them
rise to the surface near the bow of the boat,
then dive
deeply, their huge scarred flukes
tipped to the air.
We wait, not knowing
just where it will happen; suddenly
they smash through the surface, someone begins
shouting for joy and you realize
it is yourself as they surge
upward and you see for the first time
how huge they are, as they breach,
and dive, and breach again
through the shining blue flowers
of the split water and you see them
for some unbelievable
part of a moment against the sky —
like nothing you’ve ever imagined —
like the myth of the fifth morning galloping
out of darkness, pouring
heavenward, spinning; then
they crash back under those black silks
and we all fall back
together into that wet fire, you
know what I mean.
I know a captain who has seen them
playing with seaweed, swimming
through the green islands, tossing
the slippery branches into the air.
I know a whale that will come to the boat whenever
she can, and nudge it gently along the bow
with her long flipper.
I know several lives worth living.
Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,
its spirit
longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
where everything,
even the great whale,
throbs with song.
~ Mary Oliver ~
When Meshi read the entire poem to us after the dance, another line breached out of the poem, so to speak, and touched my soul~~

"I know several lives worth living.
Listen, whatever it is you try
to do with your life, nothing will ever dazzle you
like the dreams of your body,"

I will have to remember this line and try to dance it more in my life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sleeping In The Forest

Last night at dance, the magic and mystery once again unfolded. Mary Oliver's words never cease to amaze me,and I am always awestruck by how relevant her words are to me. The line that chose me for the evening, in this richly beautiful poem was;

"but my thoughts, and they floated 
light as moths among the branches"
I was conflicted about the word I would choose to reflect on in my personal dance. I wanted it to be "floated", "but my thoughts" were competing. I decided not to decide, and to let the dance be what it needed to be. I had so many emotions swirling around in my head, that I decided to surrender to them and to allow what needed to be, just be. We  began our dance with waiting, listening. When I was ready to have the music move me, I surrendered to it. I felt myself floating above my thoughts. I did not fight the ever present chatter, but instead allowed it to flow, and so flowed my dance. I felt very rooted, and tree like, yet light and floating above myself. Towards the end, standing tall and strong, my arms were suspended in mid air. I tried to raise them up toward the sky, but I felt such a powerful resistance that was incredible. No matter how hard I tried to lift my arms reaching toward the sky, something palpable was in my way. Was it something inside of me, inside my head or was it an outside force? It felt larger than myself. I felt the weight of my emotions heavy upon my arms. It was an amazing feeling. Not good, not bad, just heavy. I had to decide not to fight it, but to surrender to what was, at that moment, in that space, in that body. After what seemed like an eternity, the heaviness lifted and I began to relax into the final dance as it winded down to a natural ending. I felt spent, I felt heavy, I felt sadness, I felt light, I felt and feel confused. Surrendering to what "is", is not nor has ever been easy for me. I wondered if it is truly easy for anyone? How do I make my life more like my dance? More of a surrender to what I do not have control of, and in doing so, ironically begin to feel as if I have more control over my life. I reflect upon whether the dance is my body and mind's way of processing my life, or if my life is what creates my dance. I suspect that it is a bit of both. Sometimes there is no answer, it is in the searching that the answer might possibly be revealed. Perhaps, the answer is right in front of me, but I can't see it yet? Perhaps.................
Sleeping in the Forest    
I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated 
light as moths among the branches 

of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing 
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
~~Mary Oliver~~

taken by Winky at Breitenbush 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Mothertree Project Closing Performance

On Friday night, I had the honor of being a part of the performance at the closing event for artist Helen Heibert's  Mothertree Project. It was an incredibly moving experience for me in more ways than I could have imagined. When I first saw the "dress" months back, I was so deeply moved, that when I had the opportunity to be a part of the closing event, I did not hesitate. I participated as a crocheter and was able to hold space as a witness for the dress and the dancers, while crocheting in a circle surrounding the tree, as well as be an active part of the performance. Tracy Broyles, the choreographer accompanied by two supporting dancers  and the six crocheters, represented a beautifully rich diverse age span of women, as well as wonderfully vibrant  young boy who rounded out the group that truly felt like a circle of life. The things that it brought up for me were pretty profound. When I first arrived at the event, I could not believe that my hands had forgotten how to crochet, since I have been unable to do this and other things for the past 3 1/2 years due to pain and 3 wrist surgeries. It is amazing to me that the muscle memory had faded. I felt tremendous anxiety. I had to reach out and ask a fellow crocheter to show me how, and it immediately came back to me as second nature. The brain is a fascinating machine to say the least!
Surrounding a mother earth tree related so personally to my own sculptures and my deep connection and identification with my own motherhood. Then the movement and weaving around the tree, the traditional Maypole dance revisited, which made me think of my childhood with annual Mayday Maypole dances at the local park, which I always loved. Then it made me hold my son Adam in my heart in celebration, since he was born on May 1st, Mayday, 31 years ago. And lastly, and most deeply moving for me was the thoughts about my own mother. She is now 90. She had just canceled her scheduled trip to visit us, since she is not feeling that her health will be supported, traveling this long distance from Florida. She is filled with fear that she will not be able to be with our entire family ever again. We are all filled with sadness and trying to accept this possibility. She was not only coming to visit, but to escort her newly finished crocheted afghan quilt that she made for Adam and his new bride Tiffany. This is her last quilt, since her arthritis is causing her too much hand pain. It was very important to her that she make them this blanket. She has crocheted my entire life. Sweaters and afghan blankets to keep me from the cold, and blanket me with love, throughout the many stages of my life. I have never crocheted more that a misshaped scarf, since  I know nothing more than how to do a basic chain stitch.
The entire event made me think about the circle of life, threads that join us, the chains that bind us,  and the fleeting fragility of life itself, and along with that, the letting go. I am richer for having been a part of this experience.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Waiting" chair installation progress and first glimpse

Today I finished GAP chair #9. That makes a total of 19 fired and filled chairs  (Pre-op and Post Op) that I have mocked up on a board, and 1 Post-Op and 9 GAP chairs waiting to dry and be fired. I feel like I am progressing with the installation, and I am still engaged in the process of the piece, so I will continue moving forward!

Wonderful News on the Plastic Bag Ban in Portland with a note from Mayor Sam Adams

  Last Friday, I made public the City’s draft plan to ban single-use plastic carry-out bags and have stores collect 5-cent charges on paper bags. And over just the past weekend, support for the approach has been on the rise.  
  • First, the Oregonian published an editorial on Saturday supporting our approach. You can read that editorial by clicking on this link:

  • Then, on Sunday, Fred Meyer Stores announced their plan to stop using single-use plastic carry-out bags in all their Portland stores starting August 1, 2010! I applaud Fred Meyer for their leadership on this issue. Fred Meyer joins other great brands in our region that have made the transition away from plastic and toward paper and reusable bags. Some stores -- like Zupan’s Marketplace, Whole Foods and Market of Choice have shifted away from single-use plastic carry-out bags for years. Others, like New Seasons Market, have never offered plastic bags, responding to shoppers’ demands for paper and reusable bags.

  • And great advocacy organizations like Surfrider Foundation and Environment Oregon continue their grassroots outreach, adding thousands of supporters in the region to their efforts to Ban the Bag. To learn more and get involved, go to:

  • So, to add your voice to the conversation about banning plastic bags in Portland, visit, take a look at the proposed ordinance and Frequently Asked Questions, and leave us a comment. The deadline for public comments is this Friday, July 23.
It’s time for Portland to take action. Portlanders are ready, Portland’s businesses are ready, and the approach is right. Please join me and thousands of your friends and neighbors, and remember to thank those stores that are making the move to ban plastic bags.
Sam Adams
Mayor, City of Portland

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ban on Plastic Bags in Portland Update

Moments ago, Portland Mayor Sam Adams announced that Portland will ban plastic shopping bags. He will layout his plan today at the Ban the Bag Rally, at 12 noon.  
After Oregon legislators revealed they are considering a ban on plastic shopping bags, the Ban the Bag coalition announced a Ban the Bag action occurring today,  Wednesday July 14th. The day's actions, sponsored by Environment Oregon and the Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation,  started at 9 a.m. with supporters presenting a petition to city councilors urging them to ban the environmentally damaging bags.
Not only are millions of barrels of oil used to make the nearly 100 billion plastic shopping bags we use annually, but they can wreck havoc on the machinery at  recycling centers; which may be why 95 percent of the bags end up in landfills. 
The new statewide legislation being considered in Oregon would encourage shoppers to use fabric or other reusable bags by banning the plastic ones at checkout counters and charging a nickle for every paper bag shoppers used.
At the rally today, other speakers will join Mayor Sam Adams, there will be a display of plastic and entertainment by the Bag Monsters.
The day of action will conclude tonight at 6 p.m. with a  Pint Night, at the headquarters of Portland's hybrid shoe manufacturer,  Keen Inc.  Sponsored by Ninkasi Brewing, the evening will also feature raffle items:
* Gear from Portland companies NAU and Keen
* Gift certificates from Oregon Surf Adventures, Looptworks, Gorge Performance and Lizard Lounge
* 10 Jack Johnson concert tickets
* Dakine backpacks
* Smith glasses
12 noon, rally at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave.
6 pm Pint Night and raffle at Keen Headquarters,  926 NW 13th Street.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rest and Renewal

Today is the first day that I begin the GAPS program, and I am allowing myself some retreat time this week to nurture my body, mind and spirit, and through this I know I will do some deep long overdue healing. I am cooking away, creating bone broths for my intro cleanse using the crock pot lovingly given to me by my biggest supporter and coach through all this, my daughter Jenni, with her infinite wisdom about health, food and life.

On a lighter note, I was reflecting on a few photo accomplishments this past month,. I submitted three photographs that I have taken on my many excursions in Portland, and out and about in Oregon accompanied by my trusty friend, my camera. I was honored to have them posted on various sites and given three wonderful gifts to honor my participation and the beauty of my pictures. I have been gifted with a rafting trip down the Deschutes River, a gift card to a local coffee shop, and 6 pounds of organic local coffee!! How cool to be rewarded for doing what I love to do. Very encouraging and wonderful when others see and honor the beauty of my labors of love! Although I wish I could totally let go of "ego",  I am admittedly human,  and external acknowledgment,  just plain feels good!  
I also unloaded my first "Chair Installation" kiln firing. I then mounted the white ceramic chairs on a wall to begin building and creating my installation. At present, I have 3 pre-op and 18 post-op chairs that are mounted, and each holds and item of special meaning to me that represents time, the detritus of everyday life, the things I have been collecting and saving along the way to my healing, be it hand, health, spirit, and/or life. The working title of the piece is "Waiting". I will be posting pictures as soon as I take them. Until then, I am continuing to sculpt chairs....... one down ??????? to go! Will I actually end up creating 365 hand built small chairs, or 105? Time, patience and engagement in the process will tell.

I need to focus on these positive accomplishments more than ever now, when I am feeling a bit drained and lacking the physical and emotional energy to create in a concrete way. For now I am germinating~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pain vs Pleasure

We began the dance evening Tuesday with a casual discussion, dealing with the idea that Tony Robbins addresses, that we are much more likely to do things in the avoidance of pain rather than just in service of pleasure. What is it that motivates us to change to intentionally create a life filled with less pain and more pleasure?

"A real decision is measured by the fact that you've taken a new action. If there's no action, you haven't truly decided."~ Tony Robbins

This all resonated with me as I embark upon my journey to health beginning this Sunday by implementing the Fourfold Path To Healing

We continued our intent to all dance to the same chosen line for the evening, a shared language, still from Mary Oliver's poem Blossom. The line for the evening was......... "before death, nights in the swale- everything else can wait but not....................." We went around the circle and each read the phrase in our own way, each of our intonations lending a different meaning to the phrase. We then each pulled a word that spoke to us the most. Mine jumped out to choose me....BUT..... It made me think about the buts, the excuses that I make to myself to avoid pleasure, to allow pain, and to not implement the steps that I must empower myself with, in order to create health. I danced, I danced hard, I danced dark, I tried to dance in community, I danced alone, I danced the buts, and I danced the hopes and I danced the possibilities, the change. The final song of the evening, that seems to always be played just for me, to totally fulfill my needs of the moment...............once again, the Sam Cooke song, A Change Is Gonna Come, with the yet forever relevant and very powerful lyrics "It's been a long, a long time coming. But I know a change gonna come."  I truly believe it is!............ I have to.

Working toward Baning Plastic Bags in Portland

Portland Mayor Sam Adams told Sustainable Life last year that he favored a ban on plastic bags in the city, and he tried to have a committee work on the issue. But then the issue was dropped when the recession hit. Adams said in February 2009 that it wasn’t the time to impose a 5- to 20-cent tax on plastic bags when people were struggling to make ends meet.
But Stiv Wilson, a Portland environmental activist who’s leading a “Rise Above Plastics” campaign, says it’s time to revive the proposal for a bag tax or outright ban. The Northwest Grocery Association is even willing to work with the effort, Wilson says.
“To us this is low-hanging fruit, a no-brainer, a win-win,” he says. “I think we’re falling behind.”
As communications director for 5 years – a nonprofit group that also aims to ban plastic bags globally – Wilson says he went to Geneva, Switzerland in June to talk to the United Nations, at the U.N.’s request, to discuss plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
Wilson plans to address the Portland City Council July 14, then hold a day of events including a 6 p.m. celebration at the Keen Inc. shoe company’s Pearl District headquarters, 926 N.W. 13th Ave.
“What I cannot stand is we live in this progressive community, we have a fairly progressive City Council, and every time the economy is in trouble, this argument between environment and jobs comes up,” Wilson says. “It’s false, it’s just not true.”
For more information on the campaign, see .
– Jennifer Anderson


Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Last night we all danced the same line to the Mary Oliver poem "Blossom" with the goal of dancing a shared intention. Our line was "of hurrying down into the black petals, into the fire". I could really relate to the phrase, it is so powerful, although I am still faced with the challenge of knowing how to enter into the dance of the other and knowing how to leave the dance gracefully. It is a process that will take longer than I realized to be able to engage in. I search for the rules of how to do this, but there are none. The room was lighter than usual and I debated whether to ask for the lights to be turned down. I tried to engage with the other dancers a bit, but as always the challenge met me head on. Am I doing it right, or is there no right? I struggle. The light made it more difficult for me than usual, to sink into the dance. I moved to my reactions to the line from Blossom. At times it felt forced, like I was trying too hard to dance with the group, rather than dance with myself and with the space, as I have become accustomed to and comfortable doing. I am comfortable danceing this way, and feel totally fullfilled. I don't want to have to change. We will continue to dance the poem, in unison, with the chosen line of the night. I like the concept. A way of sharing a common language through the dance. The arch of the dance begins to wind down. The last song of the evening especially touched my heart and resonated for me. The line of the song that connected to me was "No one else can go there for me". It touched me in a special way considering the health altering dietary life choices I am about to embarck upon. As with everything I face in my life, I am trying to really embody the idea that "No one else can go there for me". I have to take full responsibility for my life, my health, my happiness, my overall well-being. I left the dance space, and as I exited the building called "One Song", I read what the meaning of the space was for the very first time, although I have been dancing there for many weeks. "One Song" Means "Uni-Verse". I was moved deeply by this idea, and drove home once again transformed. I never know where the change is going to come from, but I am ready for any possibility that is offered to me~~~~


In April
the ponds open
like black blossoms,
the moon
swims in every one;
there’s fire
everywhere: frogs shouting
their desire,
their satisfaction. What
we know: that time
chops at us all like an iron
hoe, that death
is a state of paralysis. What
we long for: joy
before death, nights
in the swale - everything else
can wait but not
this thrust
from the root
of the body. What
we know: we are more
than blood - we are more
than our hunger and yet
we belong
to the moon and when the ponds
open, when the burning
begins the most
thoughtful among us dreams
of hurrying down
into the black petals
into the fire

into the night where time lies shattered
into the body of another.
~Mary Oliver~